Stop the Worry Habit

April 6, 2018 by  
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As I mentioned in the last post, I have been concerned that I might have stomach cancer, but the bloating of my stomach continued to improve when I eliminated a few of my supplements so I canceled my doctor’s appointment. However, that experience was a big time scare and has got me thinking more and more about worry and how much harm it can do. As most of us know, our biggest worries almost never come to pass. Knowing that, shouldn’t we all stop worrying so much? And yet, who in this world doesn’t worry? I’d say pretty much no one.

Yes, there are a few times–a very few–when worry can be beneficial because it can push us to take needed action. But most worries are a waste of time. They drain our brains and there is even research that shows that excessive worry taxes your immune system. So, what can we do to reduce or eliminate most, or all, of our worries?

I don’t think we can totally eliminate all our worries but here are some ways to reduce some of them and eliminate others.

  1. Use positive self-talk when you find yourself with a big worry, reminding yourself that most worries never materialize. Push those negative thoughts out of your mind by replacing them with positive thoughts.
  2. Write your worries down because, many times, writing them out pushes them out of your mind.
  3. Try setting a half hour a week or so to visit your list of worries and ask yourself if those worries are really a big deal. If they are, ask yourself how you can handle, resolve, or eliminate that worry.
  4. Take a walk or work out. Just walking outside can do wonders for your mind and it helps reduce worry. There is such a great feeling that the great outdoors brings the human mind. (I just love my 20,000 steps a day and almost never miss taking my walks.)  I have noticed that most of my big worries are early in the morning as I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead. So, I find I just need to push myself out of bed and get myself moving. It almost always reduces or eliminates many of my big worries.
  5. Push your mind to live in the moment, that “great right now”, rather than thinking too much about the future.
  6. Play a competitive game like tennis. (And try not to worry that you might lose the game.)
  7. Take a long hot shower or, even better, get in a hot tub.
  8. Get a stress relieving massage.

On top of those suggestions, put this great thought into your mind. It’s a quote from Corrie ten Boom. She and her father helped about 800 Jews escape the Nazi’s in the Netherlands and resisted the Nazi Holocaust. She said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”.

I must admit that some of my worries are pretty silly. For example, I worry about being even 2 or 3 minutes late for an appointment.  My wife worries about her clothes not matching perfectly.  What are your worries?  Yes, think about even your silly little worries. All these worries do add up. Then, with those in mind, apply the suggestions above to reduce your stress level and better enable you to live in the moment.



Don’t Worry, At Least Not Right Now

August 19, 2011 by  
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I have a colleague starting up a new business. There are many unknowns and lots of reasons why she might worry and she does. But she does something odd. Instead of trying to stop the worry, she sets aside time for worrying. First thing in the morning while making coffee and eating breakfast, she worries. She writes down her worries, adds tasks to her to-do lists if the worries warrant further research or planning, and then goes on with her day.

It actually makes sense. Although worry is a major cause of stress, it’s still a necessary process. Worry provides forethought, planning, and often forces us to think creatively to solve or prepare for issues. The problem is not worry itself, it’s how excessive we let our worries get, how much time we waste worrying about the same things over and over, and how we let worry halt our progress. So really, it’s a balancing act to be a good worrier.

If you find worry getting the best of you, try setting aside time for worrying and write down your concerns to get them out of your head. Once you’ve gone over them and determined what you need to do, if anything, don’t allow those worries to take up any more of your time or brain power, at least until your next worry session. This will make worrying more productive (now doesn’t that sound strange?) and you are less likely to stress yourself out to the point of taking no action when you need to be taking some risks. This will take some ‘living in the moment’ skills but then, I do think that is the best way to live.